Tags Posts tagged with "Hemp"

Hemp

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Pennsylvania growers are being encouraged to share in a newly developed pilot research program that will add toward a better knowledge of what could be a new cash crop in the state. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated, “Hemp has a long history here in Pennsylvania, and we believe it holds a promising future. If we want to realize this crop’s full potential, though, we need the benefit of sound research.”

Industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until after World War II. Governments began to outlaw its cultivation in the mid-20th century because of its association with marijuana. Pennsylvania joins states like Kentucky and New York where officials and growers are keeping their focus on the seemingly profitable future of hemp growth. The Department of Agriculture will award $1,000 to successful hemp research program permit recipients to balance out the costs of the project under the cost-share program.

Grain farmer Ammon Carlyle is intrigued by the program. He stated, “I looked up ‘hemp’ online and learned that early in the country’s history it was widely grown and was a way that farmers made money. I plan to make an application to join the project.” Carlyle definitely has the land to hold the project.

Researchers who finish a hemp research project are qualified to apply, as long as the project has been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program guidelines, a maximum of thirty projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. The department will select the projects based on a complete program application. The department will issue a research permit to an institution of higher education or to a person contracted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The pilot research program follows the state and federal laws that allow industrial hemp to be grown in states where allowed.

The cut off date for Pennsylvania growers to apply for a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was January 6. Applicants who are approved for research projects will be notified by February 17.

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The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has accepted over 200 applications from farmers who have been given the ok to cultivate up to almost 13,000 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017. Over 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers, as well.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles stated, “By nearly tripling hemp acreage in 2017 and attracting more processors to the state, we are significantly growing opportunities for Kentucky farmers. Our strategy is to use Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture’s research pilot program to encourage the industrial hemp industry to expand and prosper in the state.” He continued, “Although it is not clear when Congress might act to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, my strategic objective is to position the Commonwealth’s growers and processors to ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.”

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture received just over 250 applications. Applicants were asked to identify which harvestable component of the plant would be the focus of their research: grain, floral material, or fiber. Some applicants selected more than one. Five universities will conduct additional research in 2017. The department officials named the recent decline in commodity prices as a factor that appears to be generating increased interest among growers in industrial hemp. In 2016, just under 140 growers were accepted to plant up to 4,500 acres. Program participants planted more than 2,300 acres of hemp in 2016, up from 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014.

To enhance the department’s association with local and state law enforcement officers, KDA will add GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates were required to be submitted on the application. Applicants also must pass background checks and consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any location where hemp or hemp products are being handled, processed, or grown.

Quarles stated, “We have made collaboration and communication with the law enforcement community a top priority for KDA’s management of this research pilot program.” Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp research pilot program assessed the applications and considered whether returning applicants had complied with instructions from KDA, local law enforcement, and Kentucky State Police. To advertise clarity and ensure a fair playing field while evaluating applications, The Kentucky Department of Agriculture relied on objective criteria outlined in the 2017 Policy Guide.

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Pennsylvania growers are being encouraged to share in a newly developed pilot research program that will add toward a better knowledge of what could be a new cash crop in the state. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated, “Hemp has a long history here in Pennsylvania, and we believe it holds a promising future. If we want to realize this crop’s full potential, though, we need the benefit of sound research.”

Industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until after World War II. Governments began to outlaw its cultivation in the mid-20th century because of its association with marijuana. Pennsylvania joins states like Kentucky and New York where officials and growers are keeping their focus on the seemingly profitable future of hemp growth. The Department of Agriculture will award $1,000 to successful hemp research program permit recipients to balance out the costs of the project under the cost-share program.

Grain farmer Ammon Carlyle is intrigued by the program. He stated, “I looked up ‘hemp’ online and learned that early in the country’s history it was widely grown and was a way that farmers made money. I plan to make an application to join the project.” Carlyle definitely has the land to hold the project.

Researchers who finish a hemp research project are qualified to apply, as long as the project has been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program guidelines, a maximum of thirty projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. The department will select the projects based on a complete program application. The department will issue a research permit to an institution of higher education or to a person contracted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The pilot research program follows the state and federal laws that allow industrial hemp to be grown in states where allowed.

The cut off date for Pennsylvania growers to apply for a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was January 6. Applicants who are approved for research projects will be notified by February 17.

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Farmers are planting less tobacco in Kentucky after growing health concerns decreased demand. Alternatively, they’re increasingly turning to hemp and have more than doubled the cannabis variety types in 2016. The states has become the Number 2 producer in the United States, right behind Colorado.

Giles Shell, who cultivates with his dad and brother 45 minutes south of Lexington on a 200 acre farm said, “The profit is promising,” The family plans to dedicate 80 acres to hemp next year, land that for four generations was used to produce tobacco. “We’ve been willing as a family farm to be able to take this adventure.”

There were strict controls on hemp among anti-drug sentiment over the last few decades, making it illegal to grow without a government permit as the plant got tied in with cannabis. The United States farm bill authorized agriculture departments to create industrial hemp research pilot programs in 2014. This reopened production opportunities. According to the state’s agriculture department, only 33 acres were planted in Kentucky that year. According to the state’s agriculture department, plants rose to 922 acres in 2015 and skyrocketed to over 2,300 acres in 2016.

According to the department, the state’s first hemp crop was grown in 1775, and almost all of the country’s production was grown in the Bluegrass region following the Civil War. The crop was included with federal legislation that outlawed marijuana harvesting in 1938, and output decreased to almost nothing following the Second World War.

Doris Hamilton, the industrial hemp program manager for Kentucky’s agriculture department, said cultivators are seeking alternatives as prices for other commodities remain grim and the tobacco market continues to decline.

Steenstra stated that most of the hemp products sold in the United States are being imported from other countries. Farmers now have an opportunity to get a foot in the market as the demand rises.

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Right after the DEA decided to classify cannabis extracts (in particular classifying CBD, hemp and all their derivatives as Schedule 1 substances), the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) stated Monday that it’s “strongly considering legal action” to stop the DEA’s move.

The HIA is saying that CBD products should be classified as “supplements,” not drugs or pharmaceuticals. They said the DEA abused its authority. Stating that Congress or the U.S. attorney general are the only ones authorized to add CBD oil to the list of banned substances.

The non-profit trade association who represents businesses, farmers, researchers and investors working with industrial hemp, stated in a press release that the DEA was not right in classifying all CBD products as “marijuana extracts” considering the oil can be made from both marijuana and hemp plants.

“Additionally, the ruling is based on an incorrect and incomplete understanding of how CBD is derived from the cannabis plant,” the HIA said in a statement. “While CBD may be derived from forms of cannabis that contain high amounts of THC, the cannabinoid associated with ‘marijuana,’ CBD may also be produced from industrial hemp plants that meet the legal standards of less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, and which may be cultivated in 32 states in the U.S. per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill. Hence, not all CBD products may be classified as extracts from ‘marijuana.’”

Executive director of HIA; Eric Steenstra, says that Congress already ruled on the subject when they allowed hemp farmers to produce CBD oil in a bunch of states under the 2014 farm bill.

Steenstra reiterated that the “DEA has no authority whatsoever to impede the production, processing or sale of hemp products, including CBD products, grown under the Farm Bill.”

In the meantime; a finding presented by researchers at the American Epilepsy Society’s 70th Annual Meeting in early December discovered that CBD oil reduces the amount and severity of seizures in children and adults with severe, intractable epilepsy.

“Our research adds to the evidence that CBD may reduce frequency of seizures, but we also found that it appears to decrease the severity of seizures, which is a new finding,” said Jerzy P. Szaflarski, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the department of neurology and director of the Birmingham Epilepsy Center at the University of Alabama, who was at the meeting.

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In a milestone that signifies growth for its hemp market; Colorado becomes the first state in the nation to make certified seeds for industrial hemp. As per federal law, a pot plant must contain 0.3 percent or less Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), to be classified as hemp. THC is the determining factor that classifies a pot plant as hemp or marijuana. Textiles, paper, plastics, solar panels and biofuel can be made from hemp. Hemp seeds can be utilized to process a wide variety of food products such as: bread and milk. It can also be used as livestock feed.

Marijuana derived CBD is only legal in states which have legalized medical marijuana; however, hemp derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. According to CBD advocates, CBD oil is safe for children and has been praised as a treatment for a variety of diseases and disorders. As per Duane Sinning, assistant director for plant industry at the Colorado Department of Agriculture; approximately 30 states allow some type of hemp production, but none of them have certified seed. Certification signifies the seed was tested in all growing conditions possible statewide and the plants met the 0.3 percent or less THC maximum.

Approximately 260 growers in Colorado are cultivating hemp in 400 locations per Sinning. During the first year there was 200 acres planted with another 250,000 square feet of indoor hemp growing. In 2016 there is currently 6,000 acres planted as well as 1.3 million square feet of indoor cultivation. As per Sinning, it is important to have certified seed because if you buy uncertified seed you do not know until after it grows, whether or not it will pass that crucial 0.3 percent test. If you exceed 0.3 percent; it is no longer considered hemp, under federal law it is marijuana.

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Not all products made from cannabidiol, which is the chemical compound found in marijuana, are the same not only does the potency vary from product to product but so too does its legality in the United States. In large part, where the CBD oil, as it’s called, is derived from makes a big difference. CBD has seen a spike in popularity-even in states where medical marijuana is not legal, CBD oil often is.

CBD does have a slight calming effect and is useful in treating epileptic seizures, pain, inflammation, arthritis, alcoholism, depression, PTSD, and so on. Next to THC, it’s one of the most prominent cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, in cannabis. It’s legal in many states where medical marijuana is not. The legal difference between hemp and marijuana, both products of the cannabis plant, rests on the plant’s THC content. If a plant has less than 0.03 percent THC, it qualifies as hemp.

“However, if we’re talking about the federal legality of a CBD product, it depends on where it derives from,” said attorney Michael Chernis, founder of Chernis Law Group P.C. The federal definition of marijuana doesn’t exclude CBD, industrial hemp, or products with less than 0.03 percent THC. According to Chernis, “The legality of a product containing CBD depends on the plant material from which it was derived, and not its percentage of THC.” Therefore, CBD products made from marijuana bud are still federally illegal, while CBD products made from hemp stalks cultivated outside the United States are legal.

Only government-licensed hemp growers or state-licensed medical marijuana growers can grow cannabis for CBD, though many CBD products also come from international sources. Watch out because a lot of these products are just snake oil. The FDA regulates CBD products derived from hemp only as a dietary supplement, meaning the FDA isn’t authorized to review them for safety and efficacy before they’re marketed. This is ironic, given how strictly regulated and enforced other marijuana products are on the state level.

In February 2015, several firms marketing CBD products for the diagnosis, cure, and treatment of diseases received warning letters from the FDA. After having tested these products, the FDA found that some of them didn’t even contain CBD. “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products,” the FDA stated. Some have reported getting sick from “CBD products” that were manufactured poorly with a cocktail of other chemicals. Project CBD, an educational site, recommends CBD products derived from whole-plant cannabis.

CBD from industrial hemp, which is grown to make other non-ingestible products like textiles or rope, contains less CBD than marijuana strains like AC/DC, Charlotte’s Web, or Harlequin, that are rich in CBD. Industrial hemp CBD products risk possessing contaminants, since hemp is a “Bio-accumulator,” meaning that it “Naturally draws toxins from the soil,” according to Project CBD. Hemp-derived CBD also lacks essential terpenes and other cannabinoids that cannabis oil CBD contains. The entourage effect, or the synergistic relationship between all the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, is lacking from industrial hemp-derived CBD products. It’s technically illegal to use hemp leaves and flowers for drug products.

“Hemp oil entrepreneurs attempt to sidestep this legal hurdle by dubiously claiming they extract CBD only from hemp stalk before importing it to the United States, a grey area activity at best,” according to Project CBD. While the CBD market can be tricky to navigate, CBD itself could add very straightforward relief to those who need it.

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Marijuana legalization first started in Colorado and Washington, and has since gained immense momentum in the efforts to legalize marijuana across the U.S. With new states being added to the roster of recreationally legal marijuana states, such as California, a massive billion-dollar industry is in the process of becoming a reality. With the invention of new products that help safely deliver controlled doses of marijuana to patients, such as more regulated edibles and products, the ideas behind these products are getting more valuable.

The main question is: How do people protect their intellectual property?

Since marijuana is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance according to the government, there is a gray area here as to how the ideas and creations can be protected under intellectual property law. Gregg Steiner, spokesperson for Cabinet Garden, said “If the federal government has patents related to cannabis, I don’t see why others can’t also do the same.”

The Real Money: Supply the Equipment, Not the Marijuana

The real money in the marijuana industry could be in selling the machinery and equipment used to process and cultivate marijuana, instead of growing weed itself. This method of entering the marijuana industry allows innovators to have the least legal exposure to the cannabis industry, since they are not actively selling marijuana.

This is how other smoking devices are legal; water bongs can be sold with the disclaimer that it is meant for tobacco use only, when in reality they get used more often for smoking marijuana. Dylan Osborn, founder of GreenBox Grown, says “The safest opportunity is in technology for the cannabis industry.”

Saving Your Strain

One of the most contradicting things about marijuana related intellectual property is the difference in awarding trademarks and patents. The USTPO has granted patents on certain marijuana strains in California, while also denying requests for marijuana-related trademarks.

“The sooner you begin protecting your intellectual property the better, and the same holds true for the cannabis industry,” says Bob Morgan, a policy attorney at Much Shelist. “While trademarks continue to be denied for cannabis-related marks, patents for cannabis products hold promise. In fact, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently approved a patent for specific cannabis strains for growers in California.”

This is a matter of urgency as new innovations in the marijuana industry are being released daily; innovators want to make sure their ideas as being protected before they are misappropriated in other cannabis markets

It All Started with Hemp

While the news has mainly been focused on efforts to legalize marijuana, the efforts to gain more protection for cannabis intellectual property have also been in debate for some time. As research efforts continue in the hemp industry, the need for more certain intellectual property law as been going on for a while.

“In the United States, the door is open for hemp research,” says Frank Robison, Esq., senior associate at Vicente Sederberg LLC. “While there is debate about scope of permissible activities, the hemp industry should protect its technology.”

Many different research programs are being carried out by partners such as universities. With this, many patents are being issued with regards to claiming a number of aspects of cannabis. On the bright side, the US does remain the safest country in regards to protecting intellectual property for marijuana related issues.

“Getting patents issued for certain categories of technologies is challenging, particularly without data,” Robison says. “Obtaining cannabis research data is more difficult in the United States than countries with more liberal policies. But in the United States, hemp presents an opportunity for innovation, generating data and a clear basis to patent technology.”

Even with the concerns of obtaining cannabis related patents, companies still continue to move forward with innovating. This is extremely visible in the medical marijuana industry where companies continue to strive to develop safer ways to administer the medicine.

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For over 12,000 years, hemp has been used as a crop in many civilizations around the globe. Hemp was one of the first crops to ever be spun into fiber. It has an amazing amount of functionalities; from paper to food to clothing. Hemp is also environmentally friendlier than wheat and cotton. Beginning in the late 1600s, hemp was a vital cash crop in the United States. George Washington farmed hemp to produce rope and canvas.

Hemp seed has a THC level below 0.3 percent which is not enough to get anyone high. The U.S. banned industrial hemp production in the beginning of the 20th century. This followed federal laws that passed banning all kinds of marijuana. Even though hemp had a rocky history and has an uncertain future; it has the potential to generate growth in the US economy and create jobs for American farmers.

Hemp farming was originally banned in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This law enforced a tax on the sale of all forms of marijuana; therefore, it became economically impossible to produce. As a result the hemp industry faded away. Hemp was grouped with marijuana again in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970; this time declaring it a Schedule I drug despite the fact it is not potent enough to make anyone high. Even though it became legal to import fully manufactured hemp in 1998, it was still illegal for hemp to be cultivated at all on US soil. Later the 2014 Farm Bill included an amendment permitting research on industrial hemp production by states that passed legislation to legalize hemp farming.

Because of this new law, universities, agriculture departments and licensed farmers in 20 states were able to begin pilot programs and conduct research. Scientists are watched closely by the government and DEA to make sure that the hemp grown has THC levels that are in compliance with federal standards. Despite this, the DEA still does not allow licensed researchers to import hemp seed. Therefore, it could be months before they can put the seed in the ground and start their research.

The hemp industry has still managed to achieve success despite all the obstacles it has faced. Hemp products in the U.S. are valued at $581 million and these numbers continue to grow. Because of its economic potential, there is widespread bipartisan agreement that hemp farming could net large gains for the agricultural and manufacturing industries in the U.S. Hemp has many functions. It is able to be used in a wide array of products manufactured or sold in the U.S. such as: natural soaps, clothing and even cars. It is also a good source of fiber and is found in brands such as: Hempzels, Living Harvest and Nutiva. None of these manufacturers buy their hemp domestically because it is not available. Manufacturers and American farmers would both benefit if it were available domestically and it would probably be cheaper than importing it.

More companies might consider using hemp in their products if locally sourced hemp was available. Since legalizing the commercial production of industrial hemp in 1998, Canada has seen an increase in small businesses finding new ways to use and market hemp products – and most of these businesses have experienced growth. Food products especially have high potential in the US market: Manitoba Harvest, a Canadian hemp-based food company, reported 500 percent growth in sales over the past five years with about half of the sales coming from US consumers.

The legalization of industrial hemp could also seriously help American farmers: hemp seed is valued at anywhere from $477 – $900 per acre, compared to wheat, which is valued at $485 per acre. Support for this issue by organizations of local farmers has lead to bipartisan support in Congress: Senate Republicans Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul represent two of industrial hemp’s biggest supporters, largely because they believe in this industry’s potential to create jobs for their constituents in Kentucky, where the soil and landscape is a good fit for the crop. Paul argues that the new industry could help replace unproductive land that was previously used for tobacco farming and coal mining.

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Marijuana and hemp both originate from the plant species Cannabis Sativa L. It is one of the oldest domesticated crops and was grown at Mount Vernon by George Washington. After many years of breeding and manipulating it resulted into two varieties: one for medical and spiritual use and the other for agricultural and industrial purposes.

The flowering tops and leaves on the plant contain the psychoactive component and tetrahydrocannabinoil (THC), content we have come to know as marijuana. On the other hand, hemp utilizes seeds and fibers primarily from the stalk. Hemp contains extremely low levels of THC and a great amount of cannabidoil (CBD). As per laws in Colorado, hemp can not have greater than 0.3 percent THC content (dry weight). Anything over this amount is considered marijuana territory. It is impossible to get high on hemp plants.

Marijuana is physically shorter and wider than hemp which is tall and narrow. Marijuana requires as much room to grow as possible; farmers tend to facilitate this. The buds sprout much better when the plant receives more sunlight, air, and water. Hemp’s goal is to produce a strong fiber for manufacturing; not big buds for smoking.

It is of no surprise that marijuana is in the headlines. Four states approved recreational marijuana measures in the November elections and many other states approved medical cannabis (making it legal in most of the United States). Marijuana is becoming more acceptable. Hemp is also becoming quite popular; only it is growing quietly in the background (out of the
public eye), despite its less controversial applications.

Marijuana and hemp are not considered one and the same legislatively even though it is the same plant, because they are cultivated differently. Marijuana is a horticultural crop cultivated for its THC content on the other hand hemp is an agricultural crop cultivated for seed and fiber.

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